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Check Before Cancelling Old Credit Cards

I’ve had a nice large stack of active but unused credit cards in my desk for the better part of three or four years. I’ve kept them only because it is generally accepted that percentage utilization and average credit card age play a significant role in your overall credit score. By keeping the lines of credit open, it kept my average age longer and my utilization up. Since I just bought a house and don’t foresee a major purchase requiring credit, there is no reason for me to have these active but unused cards anymore. God forbid someone breaks into my home and steals the cards, I’d be in a world of hurt so I went about canceling a handful today.

One huge lesson for all you preparing for either a massive Purge-o-Rama (My made up term for the opposite of App-O-Rama, a Fatwallet term for when someone applies for a ton of cards to get bonuses, points, etc.) is to check the points and see if you can get something free before you cancel the credit card account. One of my older cards is a Sony Platinum Card, which had over 6000 points on it, mostly from bonuses such as 5,000 for opening it, 250 for all electronic statements, and 250 for registering with the online Sony Card Rewards Catalog. So before I canceled it, I went online and got myself four DVD’s for free: Glory (Special Edition) [3], Spider-Man (Widescreen Special Edition) [4], The Natural [5], and Ali [6] – about $60 worth of DVD’s according to Amazon.com [7] prices.

Incidentally, if you want a free DVD, sign up for the Sony Card [8] and you’ll get 1,500 points after your first purchase and usually DVDs are 1,400 points (free shipping).

Check out your old cards to see if you have unused points or gift certificates that you may have overlooked before you cancel them, you might find four DVDs!